Throughout music history, artists from Aretha Franklin ("Respect") to Gloria Gaynor ("I Will Survive") to Destiny's Child ("Independent Women"), have performed female empowerment anthems to uplift women the world over.
The strong women of country music have also raised their voices in times of tragedy and times of triumph. Female artists like LeAnn Rimes, Patsy Cline, and Kitty Wells have used their platform to speak on issues like birth control, cancer and abuse, and they have rejoiced when life brought babies, new love and a reason to party. They are Entertainers of the Year, they are singer-songwriters, they are Grammy winners, but most importantly: they are women who put their heart and soul into their lyrics and inspire countless others.
These honky-tonk angels have some of the best country songs to empower women and celebrate tough girls.
"All-American Girl," Carrie Underwood
This No. 1 Billboard song released by the American Idol winner is about one of the world's sweetest loves-- a father and his daughter.
"And now he's wrapped around her finger / She's the center of his whole world / And his heart belongs to that sweet little beautiful, wonderful, perfect all-American girl."
"Just Because I'm A Woman," Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton knows that women aren't always seen as equals -- especially back in 1968 when the country star's song about double standards was released. Your mistakes are not greater because you are a woman. You are worthy, and you are equal.
"Yes, I've made my mistakes / But listen and understand / My mistakes are no worse than yours / Just because I'm a woman."
"The Pill," Loretta Lynn
In 1975, birth control wasn't to be spoken about. So instead of talking, Loretta Lynn decided to sing.
"Miniskirts, hot pants, and a few little fancy frills / Yeah, I'm makin' up for all those years /Since I've got the pill."
"Gun Powder and Lead," Miranda Lambert
This song about domestic abuse flew to the top of the country charts when Miranda Lambert released it in 2007.
"He slapped my face, and he shook me like a rag doll /Don't that sound like a real man? / I'm going to show him what little girls are made of / Gunpowder and lead"
"Man, I Feel Like A Woman," Shania Twain
There is no empowerment like feeling strong in your own skin, and Shania Twain knows that well. I want to be free to feel the way I feel / Man, I feel like a woman.
"I'm Gonna Love You Through It," Martina McBride
This type of love song hits every heart differently. Cancer is a hard battle, but a strong woman can do anything-- especially when they have other strong women on their side.
"When you feel lost and scared to death / Like you can't take one more step / Just take my hand, together we can do it / I'm gonna love you through it."
"Wild One," Faith Hill
Faith Hill spreads the message that girls are allowed to be exactly who they want to be.
"When she was three years old on her daddy's knee / He said you can be anything you want to be / She's a wild one runnin' free"
"Follow Your Arrow," Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves reminds us that you're always welcome to be exactly who you are with her, no matter who you are or where you come from.
"Say what you think (Say what you think) / Love who you love (Love who you love) / 'Cause you just get so many trips 'round the sun/ Yeah, you only, only live once."
"Born To Fly," Sara Evans
Sara Evans creates an anthem for women who feel stuck. All women are born to fly, and they just have to find their wings.
"And how do you keep your feet on the ground/ When you know that you were born, you were born to fly."
"Girl," Maren Morris
Girls are amazing. Girls are phenomenal. Girls deserve to be told they are amazing and phenomenal. Maren Morris reminds every girl that they are worth it and that there is no need to compare.
"Girl, don't hang your head low / Don't lose your halo, don't lose your halo."
"PrizeFighter," Trisha Yearwood ft. Kelly Clarkson
Trisha Yearwood released the duet "PrizeFighter" in honor of her mother, who died of cancer in 2011. The song is an anthem for those women who never give up, no matter the odds.
"When you hit the ground, you find your wings / You go one more round when that bell rings / They say you're done, but here you come / You're a hammer hittin', spittin' fire, prizefighter."
"Fancy," Reba McEntire
This classic rags-to-riches tune tells the story of a poor girl who found solid ground in the world after a difficult upbringing. It's a light of hope for those women who are struggling never to give up and always work hard. Fancy's drive to work hard came from her mother's voice that rang in the back of her head.
"Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down."
"What Are You Gonna Tell Her," Mickey Guyton
Mickey Guyton sings a call to action in the face of discrimination on "What Are You Gonna Tell Her?"
"But what are you gonna tell her when she's wrong?/ Will you just shrug and say it's been that way all along?/ What are you gonna tell her when she figures out/ That all this time you built her up just so the world could let her down?/ Yeah, what do you tell her?/What are you gonna tell her?"
"Mean," Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift calls out the bullies in her hit song, "Mean." Every little girl needs to memorize the words and the message of this song-- it is okay, and necessary, to call out people who are treating you unkindly. Stick up for yourself!
"Someday, I'll be big enough so you can't hit me /And all you're ever gonna be is mean."
"I Hope You Dance," Lee Ann Womack
Lee Ann Womack's song is the prayer that leaves the lips of every mother when their children are born: I hope you dance.
"I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean / Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens / Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance / And when you get the choice to sit it out, or dance / I hope you dance."
"Woman Walk The Line," Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris conveys that many women know too well-- just because I'm alone does not mean I need your company.
"Tonight I wanna do some drinkin' / I came to listen to the band / Yes, I'm as good as what you're thinkin' / But I don't want to hold your hand."
"Only The Strong Survive," Tammy Wynette
On Tammy Wynette's 26th studio album, Even The Strong Get Lonely; she tells a story about how love is easy to find but can be hard to hold.
"And it's easy to fall into / It's not easy to hold on to / Love's easy born but hard to keep alive / And only the strong survive."
Add these songs, along with Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me," No Doubt's "Just a Girl," Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman," Rachel Platten's "Fight Song," Beyonce's "Run the World (Girls)," Alicia Keys' "Girl on Fire," Britney Spears' "Stronger," Katy Perry's "Roar" and Taylor Swift's "The Man" to your Spotify girl power playlist and celebrate your worth with your favorite artists!
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